Wondering what to do with your old computers and electricals?

At the rate new technology hits the market, it’s understandable that we want to keep up with the latest models. But when you bring home those sleek new numbers, what do you do with your old gear? Seventy-five percent of all obsolete computing equipment is currently in storage – probably gathering dust in your cupboards or garage, or shoved in a corner somewhere. Recycling or reusing computers is good for the environment, and it’s easier than you might think!

The following are our top tips for safely getting rid of unused computer equipment. You’ll free up storage space while helping our environment stay clean and green.

To recycle…

Many of the basic components in an old computer can be reused. This includes plastic from keyboards, metal from casings, and glass from older monitors. At the same time, toxic substances in computers like lead and cadmium need to be kept out of landfills and groundwater.
Fortunately, computer recycling is now an easy option in most communities. Most Australian cities and towns have public drop-off stations for your unused equipment. Try E-Cycle Solutions to find one near you – they’ll take TVs, computers and computer peripherals such as printers, monitors, mice and keyboards from householders or small businesses free of charge. These recyclers will ensure electronic equipment and batteries are responsibly disposed of.

…or reuse

They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. If your equipment still works, have you considered selling or donating it? Many schools, churches, or charity stores will happily accept electrical and computing goods.
Selling your old equipment is another option. Popular classified sites like eBay or Gumtree are a good way of turning unwanted good into a bit of extra cash. That way, the items go to a new home, and not to landfill!
Brand new is not always better. Save some money and reduce your impact on the environment by looking into whether component upgrades might be a better option. The addition of more memory or storage, or adding better graphics capability, can give an old computer a new lease on life.
You might also be able to use some of the old bits with your newer systems. Old hard drives can serve as data storage or backup receptacles. Your old monitor can be hooked up in tandem with a new monitor for extra viewing area – a dual monitor setup can boost your productivity. Want to know how? Just follow these official dual-monitor setup instructions from Microsoft.

Ready to go?

If you’re ready to reuse or recycle your old goods, make sure you take steps to protect any data you had stored. Particularly as a small business, you can’t risk customer or financial information getting into the wrong hands. Simply erasing files from your computer or using data-wipe software might not stop a sophisticated data thief. If you are donating or selling old computers and they contain sensitive information, you might want to consider removing the hard drive first and disposing of it separately. If recycling, check if your chosen e-waste recycling service takes steps to suitably destroy data as part of their disposal process if privacy is a concern.

What will you do when it’s time to upgrade?